In the winter of 2003, Nick DeGasperis announced that he would be attending Columbia University the following Fall. At a press conference, he told the media that he would be playing football, and probably be used as a kick return man and a wide receiver. DeGasperis was a star on the 2002 Schenectady High football team. A quarterback on that squad, his biggest day came when he led the Patriots to a 29-28 win over perennial Big-Ten power Troy.
With Schenectady trailing 28-22, the heady signal-caller led the Patriots down the field on an eight-minute drive. DeGasperis beat a Trojan defender in a foot race to the end zone for the game-winning score. It was the Patriots’ first win over Troy since 1988. The Columbia football program was weak, having gone 2-9 in 2002, but DeGasperis’s feeling was that the Lions had a bright future. He also announced at the press conference that he also might be playing baseball, another sport that he played very well in high schoool. During his junior year of high school, DeGasperis played a key role on the varsity basketball team both off the bench and as a starter. The Patriots won their third-straight Big-Ten title that year.